Okay so this is not the first article I have written about Friends whether to defend it or to just talk about how much I love it. I have been watching it for as long as I remember. I am 26 years old and the show came out in 1994. I was born the year before it came out. I know my momma used to watch it all the time so when I say as long as I can remember I mean I was probably watching it when it came out just not cognizant of it. It has been and still is my favorite show. I know that people talk a lot of crap about it and prefer How I Met Your Mother or The Office or something of that nature. I have nothing against those shows. One of my friends favorite shows is HIMYM and I used to watch it with her all the time and enjoyed it. My boyfriends favorite show is The Office and I have watched it with him at least four times through probably and I’ve only been with him a little over a year. Each time I laugh and still find it very enjoyable but Friends will forever by my show. I am writing this article to defend Friends point by point against a buzzfeed article that I will link at the end of my post. So here we go.
“The further away I get from my youth, the more I want to warn the younger generation, those Gen Z’ers in their puka shell necklaces and scrunchies and Vans that what they love is actually unmitigated garbage.” Let them love what they love. As long as it’s not hurting anybody what is the problem? Besides what someone likes is subjective. What you like is not necessarily what I am going to like and vice versa.
“…and yet here I am, telling my niece that no, I will not be watching Friends with her. Friends, my darling, is terrible.” Friends, my darling (said as sarcastically as Mr. Bing himself would say) is an iconic show of the ‘90’s and you are absolutely wrong. I don’t give a damn what you or anyone else says. There is a reason that it has remained on Netflix and in reruns and still has a huge fan base and merchandise. It freaking rocks.
“Pop-up events, public screenings, and merchandise are all materializing for die-hard fans, because everyone could use a bracelet with a catcall written on it.” “How you doin’?” said by Joey Tribbiani I assume is the “catcall” of which she speaks. I assume it is even more frowned upon now in the time of the #MeToo movement and all that but this was a different time and certainly not meant as a “catcall”. A catcall by definition is a shrill whistle or shout of disapproval, typically one made at a public meeting or performance or a loud whistle or comment of a sexual nature made by a man to a passing woman. I understand that I am about to defend a fictional character but it defends the show and takes down this woman’s point about catcalling. Joey when using this phrase is normally talking to an individual who he is trying to pick up or express interest in. He is not making this random remark to passing women in order to “catcall” them but to try and get a woman to know he is interested and see if she is in return interested in him. I know the way he says it and the ultimate meaning behind it may be sexual in regards to what he hopes it will lead to but it is by definition not a catcall. If you think it is then perhaps you are one of those “precious” snowflakes that is offended way too easily by everything. To that I say good luck in this world (again very sarcastically).
“People are debating whether Friends or Seinfeld is better (not to spoil my own article, but it’s Seinfeld and this should be obvious).” Okay, Seinfeld came out in 1989 and ran until 1998, that’s about 5 or 6 years it overlapped with Friends being on the air. Argue with me if you want but there shouldn’t even be a debate about which one is better because they’re not really all that similar in regards to their plot points. Seinfeld, this is a widely known fact, is about nothing. They have “conflicts” but not really and then it’s “resolved” but if you really think about it and again this is a widely known fact, nothing happens in any episode. Now this is nothing against Seinfeld because I have watched all of Seinfeld and I do very much like the show but Friends is still the best even though I don’t think it should even be a debate. Friends has real conflicts and resolutions throughout the show. From romantic relationships, to friendships, to money problems which are things we all deal with in real life then and now. Personally, I learned a lot from Friends. Go ahead judge me on that if you want but I’m not the only one with that feeling. So to settle the debate, Friends is better.
I am going to quote this whole next paragraph because all of it is irrelevant in terms of what it actually has to do with the quality of the show and I will explain after it’s quoted what I mean. “Marine biologists who probably spent years in school and hundreds of thousands of dollars on their education are out here informing us that, actually, lobsters don’t mate for life, contrary to what Phoebe, a fictional character in a bad television show whose entire personality trait is being flighty, said at some point in the late ‘90s. We have also recently learned that the monkey actor who played Ross’s pet (an actual plotline from a show about people living in New York, where half the landlords won’t even let you have a well-behaved dog) is still working — which is, I guess, good for the monkey. The content never ends, and yet, somehow, people never seem to lose their appetite for more. It was recently reported that Robert De Niro is suing a former employee for, in part, watching 55 episodes of Friends in four days.” The part about lobsters mating for life is irrelevant to the quality of the show. So it’s wrong, it’s not like everything on TV is correct anyway, that has nothing to do with the quality of the show. Besides Phoebe is known for having theories that are not exactly “normal” or “right”. As for her personality trait being flighty so what? Some people are like that. It can happen. The part about the actor monkey still working what does that have to do with anything relating to the quality of the show? The plot line she is referencing is an actual part of the show but it’s not like he asked the landlord to have the monkey. He snuck it in, which is why when Rachel loses the monkey and calls animal control it’s such a huge deal because he’s an illegal exotic monkey that he’s not supposed to have anyway. Also New York, is not the only place where most landlords don’t allow you to have dogs whether they are well behaved or not. That is almost anywhere, I am in Tennessee close to Nashville and no matter where you look landlords rarely allow dogs. Also the Robert De Niro thing, he is suing because the employee watched the shows on company time. I imagine anyone would sue or fire or something for that. They were supposed to be working and instead spent four days watching Friends. It’s not because of the show but the action of watching any show at all. Also, the main freaking reason, she was EMBEZZLING money. So let’s just get all the facts and not leave out something just because it’s inconvenient to your story.
“…I would be remiss if I didn’t remind you all of the truth: Friends, a show about white people being thin and having the pointiest nipples in the continental Americas — and a show that I, at one time, watched and enjoyed — is absolute garbage.” Okay that is not at all what Friends is about. Yeah it is white people and I’ve heard the argument about it being white before. Yeah it is. So were a lot of shows at that time and even today there’s a lot out about how everything is still mainly white. But going to back to the debate about Friends or Seinfeld. Seinfeld is a bunch of white people too. Also let’s not forget that Michael Richards who plays Cosmo Kramer had a whole rascist rant in 2006. So sure both shows are white and while Kramer the character didn’t have any racial rants the actual actor did. Also the show has nothing to do with them being thin. Sure they all were but what show besides a select few don’t have thin actors and actresses. That’s what Hollywood is mostly. Not that it’s right, but it’s mostly people trying so hard to be thin. As far as the pointy nipples it was the ‘90s, that was the style and maybe it was just really cold in the studio. It’s a part of the body get over it.
“Rachel got off the plane!!! I was glad, but I was also a virgin and didn’t understand that surely Rachel could find some other dick somewhere in Paris.” It has absolutely NOTHING to do with “finding dick”. Whether you were a virgin or not it has to do that she was IN LOVE with Ross. They had a child together, they had history together they were IN LOVE. That was one of the main relationship plots of the show was Ross and Rachel.
“But still, overwhelmingly, audiences seem fine pretending that Friends was any good at all. Likely contributing to this wrong conclusion is how easy it is to access the show’s back catalog, which is readily available to stream…” Who are you to say this it is a “wrong conclusion” people like what they like and there is a reason that this show still has such a fan base and continues to be watched by newer generations. It is relatable and still has relevancy whether you want to admit it or not. The problems that these characters go through are still problems that people go through today including the “impressionable youths” that you mention.
“It just seems odd that the show that the most marketable generation is, for some reason, watching is also the least relevant show on the market.” They are watching because the show is in fact still relevant. Relevant by definition means appropriate to the current time, period, or circumstances; of contemporary interest. If someone from today relates to the show, which I believe most people watching it do, I can myself say that I still relate to it, makes it relevant.
I’d like to point out that so far this woman has not really provided any facts as to why the show is “garbage” or irrelevant. Again, I will link that article at the end of this post so you all can read it and decide for yourself what you think but I’m just saying I haven’t seen anything yet.
The next part of her “argument” against Friends lists a bunch of other shows such as Seinfeld, The Office, 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation, and Cheers that are good for streaming because of nostalgic purposes but unlike Friends they are actually good. Again no evidence or facts about why Friends is bad. She goes on to say that The Office is “a program about an abusive boss who harasses his employees, all of whom develop a kind of Stockholm Syndrome so they can continue working at a paper company. (Do teens remember paper?) But it is, still, pretty funny and full of pathos and redemption.” First off, yes teens still remember paper. I’d like to point out I’m rolling my eyes so hard right now. Also, how is Friends not funny or how is it worse than how she describes The Office? There is not everyday harassment like everyone deals with from Michael Scott. Again I want to point out that I have nothing against The Office. I very much enjoy the show and laugh along with my boyfriend every time we rewatch it, which is all the time. She also goes on to list a thing about the other shows but doesn’t give anything against Friends. Friends is funny. You don’t laugh when Ross tries to teach Phoebe and Rachel “unagi”? You don’t laugh when Joey puts on all of Chandler’s clothes? “I’m Chandler, could I BE wearing any more clothes, or the iconic PIVOT scene. Friends IS funny.
“But loving Friends in 2019 requires a level of mental gymnastics that should force the show to remain a forgotten blip in the past.” Honestly at this point I have no idea why this woman hates Friends so much. She honestly sounds like a child who didn’t get her way about something and is just throwing a tantrum for no reason. Or maybe her point is to get people to do or feel exactly what I am, all worked up. Maybe she just wants to illicit a response from someone. Sometimes that’s all people want. Maybe I’m playing into it. Either way I don’t give a shit. I will forever defend my favorite show because it is a good show that is still clearly very loved by a broad fan base.
I am going to quote pretty much an entire paragraph here again but it all needs to be addressed. “List any of your “favorite” episodes and there’s likely something grotesque buried in the plot. Chandler’s father is inexplicably and unnecessarily a drag queen, played by the cis actor Kathleen Turner, and is the source of many an anti-trans punchline. As a teenager, Monica was fat and that’s it, that’s the joke… Ross’s ex-wife is a lesbian and isn’t it funny that his son has two mommies?” Chandler’s father being a drag queen is to show why he is the way he is as an adult. It also has to do with his mom too. Also, as far as being anti-trans, I don’t see it that way. Maybe I’m wrong but being trans and being a drag queen are quite different anyway I believe. Even if it is “anti-trans” which I don’t think it is at least it addressed a different lifestyle than just being straight. Monica being fat as the joke is the only thing I sort of agree with but I view it as her and her friends poking fun at her past not as them looking down on fat people in general. Specifically since Monica pokes fun at herself too. Ross’s ex-wife, Carol being a lesbian is kind of made out to be a joke but more at Ross’s expense and his failed marriages than at her being a lesbian. I don’t think the joke ever was that Ben has two mommies. He’s even made fun of at school for it and Ross talks about it as how it’s a problem between the kids and it’s not okay. Also, don’t come at me for being homophobic or anti-trans for my view of the show and disputing what this woman writing the article says. I’ve had my share of interaction and relationships with these things and I am a very accepting and loving person. I’m simply stating I think she is wrong.
The next paragraph goes on to talk about how multiple guest stars on Freinds had experienced not so great times on set but gives no examples and also mentions “…the infamous 2004 lawsuit that Amaani Lyle, an assistant in the writers room, filed against the show for being forced to listen to the writers joke about Joey raping Rachel, and watch them pantomime masturbating, and mock ’black ghetto talk.’” While whether those things are real or not have nothing to do with the actual show being garbage which is her apparent claim throughout this whole article while she has still not given any evidence to that except the paragraph above about Chandler’s dad, Carol being a lesbian and Monica being fat. Which I have given my views on and don’t think she is correct on. Again not to take away from the seriousness of the lawsuit or the not so great experiences that the guest stars may or may not have had that does not have to do with the actual quality of the show itself. She needs to pick a lane and stay in it. Getting into the other stuff is a different conversation that I would gladly go point for point for again.
“Beyond making it harder to sue for workplace harassment, what lasting cultural relevance has Friends given us, exactly?” The workplace harassment, again is something different from the show itself being garbage. If she wanted to talk about the aspects of the making of the show she should have stated that from the beginning and stopped talking about the actual show itself and the characters on it. They are two different conversations. I am defending the show and it’s characters which I don’t believe she has done a good job of trying to make it into a garbage show anyway. Again if people relate to the show then it is relevant. I, and I would think many others watching the show still relate to it proves that it is in fact still relevant and while maybe the cultures are a little different between that time and this time, there are still the same issues and problems which makes it relevant that way too.
This is the last paragraph of her article and I believe the driving force behind the article to begin with, she thinks SHE is old and irrelevant and is taking it out on a show that so many people love. “But, of course, none of this matters. By the rules of the internet, I am but an old woman, a millennial aging out of importance.” That, I believe, is her trying to come to terms with her own age and importance and relevancy.
“And they too will one day grow up and realize the truth about Friends, that it was just a show about beautiful twigs wearing sweater T-shirts with a behemoth network’s marketing machine behind it. This will be their rite of passage, and the good news is they’ll likely come to terms with the disappointment of returning to something they loved; the show they enjoyed at 14, though it ended before they were born, is indeed not so good.” Or they will grow up to be like many other adults, myself included, who love Friends and see the show for what it actually is, a show about the complexities of friendships, relationships, learning how to go out on your own and growing up. It is not about “beautiful twigs wearing sweater T-shirts”. Ignoring the things that it did teach us and disregarding it in favor of other shows that are neither better or worse than Friends is ridiculous. Again, I have nothing against any of the other shows she mentions. I have watched them all and enjoy them all but Friends is no different. She also never really points out any concrete evidence as to why she thinks it is such a terrible show. Maybe she just had a bad experience with it or doesn’t like it and that’s okay but for her to go off on the whole show without giving an reasons as to why she really thinks that is nonsense. The “reasons” that she does give are also nonsense and I think I proved that with my points. Everyone is of course entitled to their own opinion but I think this is really about her coming to terms with her own age and relevancy for whatever reason.
In conclusion, Friends is a great show and still holds true for many fans new and old. I will gladly take on anyone who wants to dispute this. Again if someone just doesn’t like the show because it’s simply not their thing that is fine, but to try to disparage it for everyone is ridiculous and non sense. But I’m just a girl with her very strong opinions.
As I stated in the beginning and throughout the article here is the link to the article that sparked this blog post and that I quoted from: https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/scaachikoul/friends-anniversary-bad